2018-08 September meeting minutes
Forest Conservancy District Board
Meeting Minutes for September 10, 2018
Those Present: Dawne Howard, Tom Anderson, Claude Earns, Keith Schoonover, Lori Schoonover, Jim Arnold, Dave Barrow, Vince Perrotta, Bruce Phillips, Bethany Dellagnello, Mike Kay
Keith called the meeting to order. Our own Vince Perrotta was celebrating his (39th?) birthday so Jim presented him a Dirt Cake and Keith lead a rousing edition of Happy Birthday. As you might imagine the remainder of the meeting had a “festive” atmosphere to it.
Introductions: Vince invited Bruce Phillips to our meeting and Bruce took him up on it. Bruce is a graduate of the University of MD with a degree in Agriculture. Bruce is a Professional Arborist and he was the previous owner of Tree Masters tree service. Bruce is good friends with Marshall Stacey a large Christmas Tree farmer in Garrett County. Bruce lives in the same community as Vince and they are active in their community tree care and maintenance organization. Everybody welcomed Bruce to the meeting. Bethany said that she learned about the Forestry Board from Claude and Mike when they met to measure the large sugarberry tree. Bethany is a retired Frederick County high school science teacher. These days Bethany works as an Instructor at Frederick Community College where she teaches environmental courses. She also works for the Alice Ferguson Foundation as an educator where she leads nature hikes in various National Parks along with some farm properties. Bethany also creates and sells jewelry.
Treasurer’s Report: Claude indicated that he submitted $125 checks to three NRCC students to reimburse them their NRCC Activity Fee since they provided the Forestry Board with narratives about their stay at camp.
Logging site exams: Mike explained to Bruce and Bethany the Board’s role in inspecting logging site plans in County Zoned, Resource Conservation areas. We received 3 plans prior to the meeting which were distributed. Mike and Claude will conduct these inspection on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. Claude and Mike conducted a logging site exam in August right before measuring the sugarberry tree in Frederick’s 3rd Street Park.
Scout Merit Badge program: Claude explained the Board’s role in helping local Boy Scouts obtain their Forestry Merit Badge to Bruce and Bethany. We sponsor a day log field event at the Walkersville Watershed where scouts learn about tree identification, uses of wood, the structure of wood, forest ecology, managing watersheds, and the duties of a Forester. Claude was able to acquire Steve Thrasher’s wood samples from Steve’s daughter and they are being stored at the Forestry Office at Gambrill. Claude was also able to secure Jim’s Forest Ecology materials and Mike has them. (Mike forgot to give these to Jim last night. Sorry about that.) Finally, Claude mentioned that 102 out of 104 participants completed their requirements for the Forestry Merit Badge.
Big Tree Program: Bethany said that one of her hobbies is to search out large trees and to increase her knowledge of plant identification. She had seen the large tree at 3rd Street Park in Frederick and thought that it really didn’t look like a Northern Hackberry. So, over the course of a year of so she observed the leaves, bark etc. The fruits were a dead giveaway that this was not a hackberry but a Sugarberry tree. Bethany reached out to our Webmaster and Dave put her in touch with Mike and Claude. Claude, Bethany and Mike met to measure and photograph the tree for the Big Tree Program and they invited Samantha Hogan to cover the process for an article in the Frederick News Post. This resulted in a very well written front page article. (Thanks go out to Claude for relaying the History of the Big Tree Program to Samantha.) We sent the measurements and photos to John Bennett who obtained certification that this tree was indeed a Sugarberry Tree and it was a MD State Champion. Mike has since learned that Frederick City intends to have their arborist look at the tree and take necessary steps to prevent any splitting of the trunk. While we were on site we also saw a group of large American Hornbeam’s at the park and measured the largest individual. We have since learned that the tree is a Frederick County champion and the 5th largest muscle wood in Maryland. Board members discussed a proposal to purchase signage to place around Champion Trees located in public places. Members thought this was a good idea and we brainstormed various ways to obtain funding to do this. Some possible methods include, solicit funds on the web page, search for corporate sponsors, submit a grant request to the Frederick County Community Foundation, look into web sites like Go Fund Me, and Amazon Smile program. (Dave mentioned that he would look into Go Fund Me, and Amazon’s Smile for funding opportunities for signage and general funds for the Board.
Large Chestnut Oak: John Bennett reached out to Claude and told him about a very large chestnut oak tree that is located in a Uniontown cemetery. Administrators for the cemetery are worried that as this tree sheds branches it could damage headstones and are considering tree removal. Some residents called John to see if he could meet with the administrators to look at the tree, evaluate its health and overall condition, and explain how this stately old tree enhances the cemetery. John asked Claude if he would be willing to talk to the administrators. Claude said that he would be happy to do so but thought that as a courtesy, we should notify the Carroll County Forestry Office and Forestry Board since they might want to take the lead. Mike emailed Forester Donna Davis about the tree and Dave Barrow indicated that he is friends with a member of the Carroll Board and he will pass this along to him.
NRCC Camp: Dawne took a few minutes to explain the program to Bethany and Bruce. The Natural Resources Careers Conference is a week long program designed for high school students who are interested in careers in the natural resources. Students will learn about careers in a number of fields and perform some of the activities that paid professional do in the course of their work such as, preforming a woodland inventory, developing a management plan, conducting a stream survey, conducting a fish inventory, evaluating wildlife habitat etc. The Frederick Board paid $450 tuition for 3 students and the Forestry Board Foundation was able to secure funding for the two remaining students. Students are asked to pay the $125 Activity Fee but this will be reimbursed if the student provides the Board with a narrative about their experiences at Camp. Claude reimbursed the $125 Activity Fee for the 3 students who submitted narratives.
Sustainability Commission: Tom relayed a discussion the Commission had about the funding of the Stream ReLeaf Program. It looks like there will be graduated funding for plantings with the areas in the floodplain receiving less funds than the areas outside. The reasoning for this is more money may be necessary to serve as an incentive for planting outside the floodplain where there are more competing land uses.
Community Foundation: Mike indicated that he looked at the website and thinks that the best initial attempt at funding might be to apply for a grant less than $3000 from a dedicated funding source. The Foundation has an “Educational” category and Mike thinks that we should consider applying for a grant to help us fund NRCC tuitions and activity fees. Board members discussed this proposal for a few minutes then Dawne made a motion that the Board “Provide approval for Mike and Claude to submit a Grant Proposal to the Community Foundation to help fund the NRCC program.” The motion was seconded and passed by those present. Mike and Claude will meet on Wednesday to submit a funding application. (These applications are due on 9-15-18.)
Nature Notes: Lori asked if there was anything related to NRCC which could be submitted as an article. Mike mentioned that we could compile the student narratives into an article. Mike will do this and run it by Claude for edits then we will send them to Lori. Dave said that he will try to produce some more visiting parks articles. Mike is working on an “evergreen” article that should have 2-3 installments.
Dave mentioned that the Stream Link group is planning tree planting programs on November 3, 10, 17 at Waterside Park where a total of 2,000 trees will be planted. So far 6 organizations have signed up for these plantings. Dave intends to be present for the November 3 and 10 plantings.
Dave also mentioned that he is attending a Forest Stewardship Training at Shepard’s Spring in October that the University of MD Extension sponsors.
Mike mentioned that the City of Thurmont is conducting another tree planting program at their Community Park on November 3, 2018. There will be 50 trees to plant at this event.
Vince mentioned that he is working with Gary Allen to help document and publicize the Healthy Forests Healthy Waters program (HFHW). Vince mentioned that Gary is planning to attend a board meeting in October or November. Following the meeting Mike invited Vince to join him when he conducts survival inspections at HFHW sites and Vince took him up on the offer.